Livello di rarità - Rarity

Marchio - Brand

Modello - Model

Referenza - Reference

Seriale - Serial Numbers

Anno - Year

Documenti originali - Original Papers

Stato dell'orologio - Availability

  • Rolex Explorer 16550 with transitional cream Rail dial with black tumblers, full set and Rolex service
    Lifetime warranty on originality
    Overhauled – One year warranty on operation

Rolex Explorer ref. 16550 Cream Rail Transitional Dial Full Set


Rolex Explorer ref. 16550 Cream Rail Transitional Dial Full Set
Serial R5487 **,1987

Steel in perfect condition
Serial and reference are perfectly visible between the lugs

rare original Rolex Rail transitional dial turned cream
black tumblers
in perfect condition

original Rolex 16550
in perfect condition

Oyster bracelet ref. 78360/501B
M5 clasp
in perfect condition

box with stamp, punched Italian papers, booklets, document holder, calendar, Rolex service.

Price €35,000

The finest Explorer II ever produced came out because of a technical defect, let’s see it together, but first a brief history.

From 1983 until about 1990, the first real upgrade for the Rolex Explorer II was introduced :the reference 16550.

The Rolex Explorer II 16550 is the second generation of the Explorer II after the first model ref. 1655. The Explorer II 16550 was originally launched in 1984 and is now known as a transitional model. The reason it is called a transitional model is that it bridged the gap between 1655 and 16570.

The 16550 remained in production for only about 4 years until 1988, when it was discontinued and replaced by the reference 16570. Because of its short production period and being a transitional reference, relatively few pieces were produced compared to the 16570. This led it to become a collector’s reference. At the same time, it is a less popular reference and less known to the general public, and this, in my opinion is only a good thing.

The 16550 was available with a black dial and for the first time on an Explorer II the white, an option Rolex has continued to use to this day. Rolex introduced several changes from its predecessor. The dial is certainly one of the key changes, which we will discuss later, but another key change was the bezel. For the 16550, Rolex changed the “lines” between each hour marker on the bezel and replaced them with arrows for a sportier look.

The bezel features large, very pronounced Arabic numerals that will be streamlined in the later version (16570).

Due to a manufacturing defect, the white dials could undergo a characteristic color toning, which causes them to take on a pleasant shade close to custard, hence the nickname PANNA. This peculiarity makes them highly sought after by Rolex collectors, who commonly refer to them as Explorer II 16550 “cream.” As far as I am concerned – and so are most collectors, for that matter – the paint has not suffered a flaw but a merit. Moreover, because the cream-colored dials were seen as a mistake, Rolex offered customers to exchange their dials as a free repair. In hindsight, this was a serious mistake on the part of owners, considering the great collectability of cream dials. It also means that fewer watches with cream dials now remain on the market, making them even rarer. Although produced for a few years there are several dedicated dials and produced by different manufacturers , The SWISS rail dial – T <25 ( Stern) seems to be the most collectible, but most 16550s have that dial. As proof that it did not mount only the rail dial, as is commonly and erroneously claimed by many, I invite you to pay attention to the catalog (1984), it clearly shows a Non Rail ( Beyeler) dial. This watch being one of the last produced has the Rail dial but the glasses are black and not white gold. This is rarity.

Request info

    Contact Us

    • E-mail:
    • Stefano Mazzariol: +39 335 6681944
    • Mobile (Office) – Virginia: +39 333 4427214
    • Office: +39 0586 895028

    cropped cropped cropped logo nuovo TRASPARENTE

    Head Office

    Via Querceto 27/29 Prato – 59100 Prato (Italy)

    VAT N°: 01911270971

    Chamber of Commerce registration number 482651 del 21/02/2003 Prato (Italy)

    Capital Stock 10.000 euro


    Vintage Watches Srl

    Livorno, Italy, Largo E.F. di Savoia 5/6 – 57123
    (By appointment)

      +39 333 4427214  – Office Virginia

      +39 335 6681944  – Stefano Mazzariol


    Social & Media


    Vintage Watches is in no way connected to the brands of the watches on this site and the watches themselves are not necessarily in the care of Vintage Watches Ltd. but are marketed by it.

    Processing of Personal Data

    Terms & Conditions: Read

    Privacy Policy:
    Privacy Policy

    Cookie Policy:
    Cookie Policy



    Privacy Preference Center